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Estimating thermal diffusivity and specific heat from needle probe thermal conductivity data

January 1, 2006

Thermal diffusivity and specific heat can be estimated from thermal conductivity measurements made using a standard needle probe and a suitably high data acquisition rate. Thermal properties are calculated from the measured temperature change in a sample subjected to heating by a needle probe. Accurate thermal conductivity measurements are obtained from a linear fit to many tens or hundreds of temperature change data points. In contrast, thermal diffusivity calculations require a nonlinear fit to the measured temperature change occurring in the first few tenths of a second of the measurement, resulting in a lower accuracy than that obtained for thermal conductivity. Specific heat is calculated from the ratio of thermal conductivity to diffusivity, and thus can have an uncertainty no better than that of the diffusivity estimate. Our thermal conductivity measurements of ice Ih and of tetrahydrofuran (THF) hydrate, made using a 1.6 mm outer diameter needle probe and a data acquisition rate of 18.2 pointss, agree with published results. Our thermal diffusivity and specific heat results reproduce published results within 25% for ice Ih and 3% for THF hydrate. ?? 2006 American Institute of Physics.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2006
Title Estimating thermal diffusivity and specific heat from needle probe thermal conductivity data
DOI 10.1063/1.2194481
Authors W.F. Waite, L.Y. Gilbert, W.J. Winters, D.H. Mason
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Review of Scientific Instruments
Series Number
Index ID 70030659
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center